The Science Behind Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition which tends to affect a person’s mood, thoughts, and behavior in addition to their ability to function normally. People with bipolar disorder can rapidly change from one mood to the total opposite mood in just a split second. The two mood extremes are happiness and high energy as opposed to sadness, despair, and fatigue.
Approximately 4% of our population is affected by bipolar disorder which corresponds to 12,566,566 people in the United States. Of those people with bipolar disorder about 10-15% actually commits suicide.
Demographic that Suffer
Who is affected the most by bipolar disorder? Both men and women are just as likely to be affected by bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder usually occurs in people who are in their 20s; however, a majority of people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed. In fact, it takes about 10 years before a person is correctly diagnosed.
Studies Performed on Bipolar Disorder
Diagnosis with bipolar disorder entails a longitudinal study of a person’s history as well as the history of their family members. However, this is not accurate since a number of people tend to deny manic or hypomanic episodes. A careful examination of your mental and physical status is used to confirm the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. This is done to help eliminate secondary causes such as medical conditions and medications which affect mood related symptoms that people experience for the first time after 40 years of age. Since laboratory tests are usually normal, neuroimaging tests are sometimes required to help confirm a bipolar disorder diagnosis.
After careful examination and assessment of the results, people are diagnosed with having a specific type of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I disorder is present in people that suffer from a combination of manic and depressive symptoms on the same episode. People with bipolar I disorder usually have more than one depressive episodes.
Bipolar II disorder entails the onset of more than one major depressive episode along with a hypomanic episode. The rate of suicide is definitely higher in people with bipolar II disorder as opposed to people with bipolar I disorder.
Cyclothymic disorder involves the presence of several hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes. People with cyclothymic disorder almost never suffer from a full manic episode, a major depressive episode, or a mixed episode. Symptoms must be present for a minimum of 2 years with symptoms never being absent for more than 2 months at a time in order to be diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder.
Bipolar disorder is treated through hospitalization, initial treatment, and continued treatment. Patents with bipolar disorder that have suicidal thought or behaviors are often hospitalized. The initial treatment includes either a mood stabilizer or an antipsychotic drug. Continued treatment is used to manage bipolar disorder on a long-term basis. So the right combination of medication will get you better and keep you better on a continuous basis.